Cameo Parkway 1957-1967

Cameo Parkway 1957-1967

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Cameo Parkway was the one major record label of the rock & roll era to not see its material released on CD. The reason behind this is unclear. Alan Klein, best known as the manager of the Beatles and the Rolling Stones in the late '60s, has owned the label since 1968, turning it into ABKCO the followingSee more details below

Overview

Cameo Parkway was the one major record label of the rock & roll era to not see its material released on CD. The reason behind this is unclear. Alan Klein, best known as the manager of the Beatles and the Rolling Stones in the late '60s, has owned the label since 1968, turning it into ABKCO the following year. All throughout the big CD reissue boom of the late '80s and early '90s, Cameo Parkway sat in the vaults while other reissues flooded the marketplace. This meant that big, big hits by Chubby Checker, Bobby Rydell, the Orlons, Dee Dee Sharp, and the Dovells all remained unreleased, along with early recordings from Patti LaBelle and a bunch of Michigan garage rock, including Bob Seger's first singles and anything by the Rationals and the original recordings of ? & the Mysterians, including their classic "96 Tears." Years passed and Cameo Parkway stayed far away from CD, although collectors clamored for these sides, never forgetting that the label had never made it to digital disc. Just when it seemed like Cameo Parkway would never make it to CD, ABKCO suddenly and surprisingly released the four-disc, 115-song box set Cameo Parkway 1957-1967 in May of 2005. This was a full 15 years after the peak of CD reissues and a full 40 to 45 years since the label's heyday -- a long, long wait to have this music reach CD. While there's an unquestionable sense of relief to finally have a Cameo Parkway set -- better late than never and all -- ABKCO's box does seem as if it's arriving too late, as if it would have been better off if it were released during the days that Specialty, Atlantic, Vee-Jay, Phil Spector, and the Brill Building all received comprehensive box sets in the late '80s and early '90s. Those labels and movements were captured in lavishly packaged sets -- either record-sized 12x12 boxes or book-sized sets, both with CDs housed in separate jewel boxes and large books, filled with photos, discographical details, and extensive liner notes. As appropriate for a box set released in the waning days of the CD era, Cameo Parkway feels like a downsized set: four discs in cardboard sleeves crammed into a small CD-sized box. The cramped 43-page booklet has a good label history from Jeff Tamarkin as well as pretty good notes concerning the release and chart details for each single, but there's a lack of photos and the musician credits are all presented in alphabetical order over the course of two pages, with no indication of who played on what. Since ABKCO has done good work before, particularly on their Spector box, it's possible that the market constraints of 2005 have led to this underwhelming packaging -- after all, big box sets just aren't made that often anymore, leaving lavish box sets as the province of specialty online outlets like Hip-O Select. So, looking at Cameo Parkway, it's hard not to wish that it was released in 1990, when it would have gotten better packaging, and listening to the set provokes a similar desire: this is music that should have been reissued years ago. If it had been released during the boom years of CD reissues, it would not have arrived with the same set of expectations as it does in 2005. Because of the long delay, a sense of anticipation arrives with the set. There's an assumption that in addition to the big hits and classics that have never have seen release on CD, Cameo Parkway will deliver a cornucopia of lost treasures, revealing the label as having a legacy as vast, influential, and formidable as Specialty, Atlantic, and Vee-Jay. One listen to this four-disc set proves that not to be the case. Cameo Parkway was, first and foremost, a label of its time. It could even be said that it defined its time, namely the years after Elvis joined the Army and the years before the British Invasion. This was the time that rock & roll turned toward pop music and dance crazes, and Cameo Parkway provided the soundtrack, both out of design and good fortune. The Philadelphia-based label shared a hometown with Dick Clark's American Bandstand, and when the television show went national, the label always had acts ready to appear on a weekly basis. Soon, Cameo Parkway had two giant stars in Chubby Checker and Bobby Rydell. Chubby, of course, rode "The Twist" to number one not once but twice, helping to establish the label as a success. For a few years, Checker and Rydell had many hits, as did pop-soul singer Dee Dee Sharp and the vocal groups the Orlons and the Dovells. In addition to these hitmakers, the label churned out anything they thought would hit the charts -- singles that sounded like other current trends (particularly Motown), songs by Hollywood stars (most notably Clint Eastwood's "Rowdy"), wannabe dance crazes, instrumentals, answer songs, and novelty records by the dozen. This fueled the label during their heyday, but they were knocked off track by the British Invasion. They tried to recover by doing the only thing they knew how: throwing everything at the wall and seeing what stuck. This included licensing the Kinks and releasing banished Beatle Pete Best's "Boys" (where he aped Ringo Starr's vocals), trying to compete with Motown on the pop-soul angle, and, of course, more novelty records, such as a Bobby Kennedy sound-alike reciting "Wild Thing." As the '60s passed the halfway mark, Cameo Parkway founder Bernie Lowe left, and the label carried on for a few years, recording such local soul groups as the Five Stairsteps and the Delfonics and picking up a bunch of garage rock out of Michigan, before folding at the end of the decade. Cameo Parkway traces this entire history quite effectively, which might make it interesting as both nostalgia and a historical document, but that doesn't necessarily mean that it's filled with great music. Surely, there is a bunch of great music here -- of the earliest sides, the Dovells ("Bristol Stomp," "You Can't Sit Down"), the Orlons ("Don't Hang Up," "South Street"), and Dee Dee Sharp ("Mashed Potato Time") hold up very well and the last disc, which is basically divided between early Philly soul and rampaging Detroit rock, is by and large excellent (so good, it does raise the question of why the Rationals were given only one song and why Seger's terrific "Persecution Smith" and "Lookin' Back" were left behind in favor of the Last Heard novelty "Sock It to Me Santa") -- but they're surrounded by singles that capture their time without transcending it. Some of this stuff is quite fun, but early into the first disc, the teenybopper pop, cash-in instrumentals, and parade of novelties starts to wear thin -- and that's even before Chubby Checker comes along with his seemingly endless string of "Twist" knockoffs, none of which have improved with age. Checker's twists were hits, as were Bobby Rydell's teenbeat tunes, but unlike the hit singles that came out on Sun, Atlantic, and Motown in the late '50s and early '60s, they are not timeless music. That's unfortunately true of most of the music on Cameo Parkway: it's music that is first and foremost music of its time. There are exceptions to the rule -- some of the novelties are still fun, there are some good forgotten gems like the Rays' jiving doo wop tune "Daddy Cool," and the Michigan rock is fantastic, as are cuts by the Delfonics, the Five Stairsteps, and the aforementioned Dovells and Orlons sides -- but for the most part, this set is of interest to listeners who either grew up with the music or to the most serious pop music archivist. For many listeners who waited patiently for these songs to come out on CD, it very well may be enough just to have this set out and on the market, but there will likely be just as many listeners who, given the long wait, expected something more musically substantial than what Cameo Parkway ultimately had to offer.

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Editorial Reviews

Rolling Stone - David Wild
1/2 The Cameo Parkway catalog stands as a long-lost Philly jukebox of classic American pop.

Product Details

Release Date:
05/17/2005
Label:
Abkco
UPC:
0018771922322
catalogNumber:
9223
Rank:
98005

Tracks

Disc 1

  1. Butterfly
  2. Fabulous
  3. Race for Time  -  Rhythm Captains
  4. Sing Sing Sing  -  Bernie Lowe Orchestra
  5. You're the Greatest  - Billy Scott
  6. Over the Weekend  -  Playboys
  7. Night Time
  8. Memory Lane  -  Hippies "Tams"
  9. Silhouettes  -  Rays
  10. Daddy Cool  -  Rays
  11. Back to School Again  - Timmie "Oh Yeah!" Rogers
  12. The Class
  13. Bad Motorcycle  -  Storey Sisters "Twinkles"
  14. Shake a Hand
  15. Dinner With Drac, Pt. 1  - John Zacherle
  16. Mexican Hat Rock  -  Applejacks
  17. Nine More Miles (The "Faster-Faster" Song)  -  Rockin' Bocs
  18. Bird's 'N' Bees
  19. Two Weeks With Pay  -  Rockin' Bocs
  20. Rocka-Conga  -  Applejacks
  21. Kissin' Time
  22. We Got Love
  23. The Twist
  24. Wild One
  25. Swingin' School
  26. Pony Time
  27. Teach Me to Twist
  28. Let's Twist Again
  29. Bristol Stomp
  30. The Wah-Watusi
  31. Merry Christmas  -  Cameos

Disc 2

  1. Slow Twistin'
  2. Mashed Potato Time
  3. Gravy (For My Mashed Potatoes)
  4. Don't Hang Up
  5. Ride!
  6. Do the New Continental
  7. The Popeye Waddle  - Don Covay
  8. Limbo Rock
  9. The Cha-Cha-Cha
  10. Volare
  11. Sweet Georgia Brown
  12. One More Time Back to School  -  Yon Teenagers
  13. (I'm the Girl From) Wolverton Mountain
  14. Rowdy
  15. Forget Him
  16. Mother Please!
  17. Come On and Dance With Me  - Billy Abbott
  18. Groovy Baby  - Billy Abbott
  19. The Jam, Pt. 1  - Bobby Gregg
  20. You Can't Sit Down
  21. South Street
  22. Everybody South Street  -  Taffys
  23. Do the Bird
  24. Not Me
  25. Crossfire!
  26. (Everybody Do) The Swim, Pt. 1
  27. The 81  -  Candy & the Kisses
  28. Daydreamin' of You  -  Dreamers
  29. The Boy With the Beatle Hair  -  Swans
  30. Jingle Bell Rock

Disc 3

  1. So Much in Love  -  Tymes
  2. Wonderful! Wonderful!  -  Tymes
  3. I'll Be True  - Johnny Maestro
  4. When We Get Married
  5. Somewhere  -  Tymes
  6. Hey Good Lookin'  - Billy Abbott
  7. Just One Chance  -  Sparkletones
  8. You'll Never Walk Alone  - Patti LaBelle
  9. Danny Boy  - Patti LaBelle
  10. Cast Your Fate to the Wind
  11. It Only Took a Minute  -  Bruvvers
  12. Long Tall Sally  -  Kinks
  13. Boys
  14. You Still Want Me  -  Kinks
  15. Funny How Love Can Be  -  Ivy League
  16. Tossing & Turning  -  Ivy League
  17. She's Fallen in Love With the Monster Man  -  Savages
  18. Wild Thing
  19. Little White House
  20. Fool, Fool, Fool  -  Little Joey & the Flips
  21. Girl from New York City  -  G.T.O.'s
  22. Society Girl
  23. Soldier Baby of Mine  -  Candy & the Kisses
  24. S.O.S. (Heart in Distress)
  25. Because of My Heart
  26. Heartaches Away My Boy
  27. Got to Run  - Vickie Baines
  28. My Boy  -  Stylettes
  29. White Christmas (3 O'Clock Weather Report)  - Bobby the Poet

Disc 4

  1. Angel of the Morning
  2. The Love of a Boy
  3. This Can't Be True  - Eddie Holman
  4. World of Fantasy
  5. Come Back
  6. Am I a Loser (From the Start)  - Eddie Holman
  7. Danger! She's a Stranger
  8. Meet Me in Church
  9. You've Been Untrue
  10. Get a Hold of Yourself  -  Persians
  11. He Don't Really Love You
  12. The Sweetest Thing This Side of Heaven
  13. The Grass (Will Sing for You)
  14. I (Who Have Nothing)  -  Pack
  15. Beg, Borrow and Steal
  16. 96 Tears  -  ? & The Mysterians
  17. I Need Somebody  -  ? & The Mysterians
  18. East Side Story  - Bob Seger
  19. Can't Get Enough of You, Baby  -  ? & The Mysterians
  20. Respect
  21. Shake Your Tambourine
  22. Let the Good Times Roll & Feel So Good
  23. Heavy Music, Pt. 1  -  Last Heard
  24. Lovey Dovey/You're So Fine
  25. Sock It to Me Santa  -  Last Heard

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Roy Buchanan   Guitar
Dreamlovers   Background Vocals
Jimmy Page   Guitar
Rick Kellis   Piano
Jeannie Thomas   Background Vocals,Voices
Dave Appell   Guitar,Background Vocals
Ron Dante   Background Vocals
Trade Martin   Guitar
Dee Dee Sharp   Background Vocals
Chip Taylor   Guitar
Steve Gaines   Guitar
Embers   Accompaniment
Bobby Gregg   Drums
Mike Pedicin   Alto Saxophone
Tymes   Background Vocals
Norma Mendoza   Background Vocals
Jimmy Wisner   Organ,Piano,Celeste
Jean Thomas   Background Vocals
Bob Schwartz   Saxophone
Steve Baron   Guitar,Track Performer
Ron Feuer   Organ
Nick Ashford   Background Vocals
Donald Banks   Background Vocals,Group Member
Thom Bell   Piano,Harpsichord,Background Vocals,Harpischord Synclavier
Robin "Hood" Brians   Bass
Norman Burnett   Background Vocals,Group Member
Artie Butler   Piano
Karl Chambers   Drums
Roland Chambers   Guitar
Clark Terry   Trumpet
Nick d'Amico   Percussion,Vibes
Ugene Dozier   Piano
Bobby Eli   Guitar
Jack Faith   Saxophone
Kenny Gamble   Guitar,Background Vocals
Richard Genovese   Trombone
Leroy Glover   Piano
Gorgoni   Guitar
Hilda Harris   Background Vocals
Norman Harris   Guitar
Robert Hartzell   Trumpet
Rosetta Hightower   Background Vocals,Group Member
Eddie Hinton   Guitar,Electric Guitar
Leon Huff   Organ,Piano
Billy Jackson   Percussion,Background Vocals
Leroy Lovett   Piano
Bernie Lowe   Piano
Buddy Lucas   Tenor Saxophone
Joe Macho   Bass,Background Vocals
Raun McKinnon   Background Vocals
Leslie Miller   Background Vocals
Vince Montana   Vibes,Orchestra Bells
Mike Natale   Trumpet
Frank Owens   Piano
Luther Randolph   Organ,Piano
Ron Renaldo   Musician
Joe Renzetti   Guitar
Rogers   Drums
Richard Rome   Piano,Accompaniment
Valerie Simpson   Background Vocals
Clarence H. Watson   Bass Trombone
Toni Wine   Background Vocals
Wilmer Wise   Trumpet
Joseph Wissert   Percussion
Earl Young   Drums
Harry W. Polk   Guitar
William Minkin   Track Performer
Applejacks   Background Vocals
Audrey Brickley   Background Vocals,Group Member
Shirley Brickley   Background Vocals,Group Member
Delphine Cook   Background Vocals,Group Member
Dinell Cook   Background Vocals,Group Member
Marlena Davis   Background Vocals,Soprano (Vocal),Group Member
Cliff Dunn   Background Vocals,Group Member
Ray Dunn   Background Vocals,Group Member
Morris Gardner   Background Vocals,Group Member
Walter Gates   Piano
Cleveland Hammock   Background Vocals,Group Member
George Hilliard   Background Vocals,Group Member
Johnny Pearson   Piano
Tommy Ricks   Background Vocals,Group Member
Winnie Walford   Bass
Larks   Background Vocals
Victoria Jackson   Background Vocals
Artie Kaplan   Baritone Saxophone
Dave Stephens   Piano,Chart
Aldo Mauro   Drums,Vocals
Dick Romoff   Bass
Buddy Savitt   Tenor Saxophone
Roy Stragis   Organ,Piano,Celeste,Background Vocals
Jeanne Grant   Background Vocals,Group Member
Berry   Background Vocals,Group Member
Bobby Durham   Drums
Weldon McDougal   Background Vocals,Group Member
Bob DiNardo   Guitar
Browne   Accompaniment
Bobby Martin   Piano,Vibes
Jerry Kilgore   Drums
Velvettes   Vocals
Rosalind Waters   Background Vocals,Group Member
Georgie Young & the Rockin 'Bocs   Tenor Saxophone
Willa Ward   Background Vocals
Ronnie Baker   Bass
Vera Carey   Background Vocals,Group Member
Lucille Dunbar   Background Vocals,Group Member
Helen Hutchinson   Background Vocals,Group Member
Charlotte Walker   Background Vocals
Dan Dailey   Percussion,Baritone Saxophone,Tenor Saxophone,Background Vocals
Charlotte Butler   Background Vocals,Group Member
Delores "Honey" Wylie   Background Vocals,Group Member
Vinnie Bell   Guitar
Jimmy Cicchini   Drums
Pete Cozzi   Drums
Ronny DiStefano   Drums
Vivian Dix   Background Vocals
Kenny Dorn   Saxophone
Ed Etkins   Tenor Saxophone
Larry Fogel   Trombone
Jerry Gilgor   Drums
Billy LaPatta   Ukulele
Vivian McDougal   Background Vocals,Group Member
Jim Meeley   Background Vocals
Bip Muscemeci   Bass
Calvin Nichols   Background Vocals,Group Member
Catherine Nichols   Background Vocals,Group Member
Dick Noble   Saxophone
Blanche Norton   Background Vocals
Earl Oxendine   Group Member
Joe Sgro   Guitar
Joe Sher   Drums
Bill Shimmin   Piano,Background Vocals
Chester Slim   Drums
Ellis Tollin   Drums
Dennis Wholey   Track Performer
Fred Nuzzullio   Percussion,Baritone Saxophone,Tenor Saxophone,Background Vocals
Billy Jackson   Percussion,Background Vocals
Fred Bender   Organ,Piano
Browne And His Orchestra   Accompaniment
Pete Carroll   Guitar
Doris Gibson   Background Vocals
David Levin   Percussion,Drums
Steve Caldwell   Group Member

Technical Credits

Louis Prima   Composer
Hank Ballard   Composer
Curtis Mayfield   Producer
Otis Redding   Composer
Joe Tex   Composer
Brian Wilson   Composer
Vince Guaraldi   Composer
Brooks Arthur   Engineer
George Williams   Composer
Richard Rodgers   Composer
Joe Meek   Producer,Engineer
Burt Bacharach   Composer
Dave Appell   Arranger,Composer,Producer,Engineer
Dee Clark   Composer
Don Covay   Composer
Jerry Leiber   Composer
Mike Love   Composer
Barry Mann   Composer
Trade Martin   Arranger
Van McCoy   Arranger,Composer,Producer
Chip Taylor   Arranger,Composer,Producer
Frank Virtue   Engineer
Bob Crewe   Composer,Producer
Bobby Gregg   Composer,Producer
Domenico Modugno   Composer
Mike Pedicin   Arranger
Billy Strange   Composer
Eddie Holman   Composer
Jimmy Wisner   Arranger,Producer
Bob Schwartz   Producer
Doug Brown   Arranger,Producer
Ray Davies   Composer
John Berry   Composer
Jerry Ross   Composer,Producer
Gary Anderson   Composer
Morris Bailey   Producer
Thom Bell   Arranger,Producer
Ben Bernie   Composer
Clarence Burke   Composer
Artie Butler   Arranger
Charles Calello   Arranger
Roy Cicala   Engineer
Ritchie Cordell   Producer
Hal David   Composer
Jackie DeShannon   Composer
Ugene Dozier   Arranger,Producer
Sherman Edwards & Donald Meyer   Composer
Wes Farrell   Composer
Joel Fein   Engineer
Bob Gallo   Engineer
Kenny Gamble   Composer
Gregg Geller   Reissue Producer
Leroy Glover   Arranger
Gorgoni   Arranger,Producer
Oscar Hammerstein   Composer
Tony Hatch   Arranger,Composer,Producer
Wally Heider   Engineer
Eddie Holland   Composer
Dan Honaker   Composer
Leon Huff   Producer
Billy Jackson   Composer,Producer,Vocal Arrangements
Paul Jameson   Engineer
Jerry Kasenetz   Producer
Jeff Katz   Producer
Iris Keitel   Art Direction
Terry Kennedy   Producer
Buddy Killen   Arranger,Producer
Terry Knight   Producer
Mike Lewis   Producer
John Linde   Producer
Sandy Linzer   Composer
Bernie Lowe   Composer,Producer,Executive Producer
Bob Ludwig   Mastering
John Madara   Producer
Kal Mann   Composer,Producer
Francesci Migliacci   Composer
Vic Millrose   Composer
Bob Millsap   Producer
Mitchell Parish   Composer
Kenny Present   Engineer
Ben Raleigh   Composer
Phil Ramone   Engineer
Denny Randell   Composer
Luther Randolph   Arranger,Producer
Joe Renzetti   Arranger,Composer
Harold B. Robinson   Producer
Richard Rome   Arranger,String Arrangements
Steve Rosenthal   Archives Coordinator
Bob Seger   Arranger,Composer,Producer
Frank Slay   Arranger,Composer,Producer
Bruce Staple   Engineer
Mike Stoller   Composer
Bill Szymczyk   Engineer
Shel Talmy   Producer
Joe Tarsia   Engineer
David White   Producer
Don White   Engineer
Hank Williams   Composer
Joseph Wissert   Composer,Engineer
Bert de Coteaux   Arranger
Bob Kidder   Engineer
Johnny Pate   Arranger
Ray Prickett   Engineer
Tony Starr   Composer
Neil Bogart   Producer
Ronald Albert Johnson   Engineer
Hal Miller   Vocal Arrangements
Ken Lewis   Composer
Emil Korsen   Engineer
Obie Massingill   Arranger
Bob Mersey   Arranger
Peter Antell   Producer
Samuel Bell   Composer
Don Canton   Composer
Luther Dixon   Composer
Georgia Dobbins   Composer
Walter Ford   Vocal Arrangements
Rudy Martinez   Composer
Joe Morris   Composer
Johnny Pearson   Arranger
Richard Penniman   Composer
Terry Knight & the Pack   Producer
John Schroeder Orchestra   Producer
Cooley   Engineer
Stan Watson   Composer
Jeff Tamarkin   Liner Notes,Essay
William Garrett   Composer
Glenn Snoddy   Engineer
Roy Stragis   Arranger,Composer
Lenne Allik   Concept
Maceo Pinkard   Composer
Kenneth Casey   Composer
Bernie Baum   Producer
Robert "Bumps" Blackwell   Composer
Enotris Johnson   Composer
Robert Bateman   Composer
John Carter   Composer
Weldon McDougal   Producer
Joe Beal   Composer
Jim Boothe   Composer
Sylvester Bradford   Producer
Carlo Donida   Composer
Leon Fisher   Producer
Gregory Fowler   Composer
Bobby Martin   Arranger
Frank Guida   Composer
Ed Baker   Producer
Jack Diamond   Producer
Rudy Gonzales   Producer
Cornell Muldrow   Composer
Mogol Audio 2   Composer
Leon Mitchell   Producer
Jon Sheldon   Composer
Eddie Smith   Engineer
Don Hogan   Composer
Ivin Ballen   Producer
Bill Giant   Producer
Maria Papazahariou   Production Director,Session Research
Seth Adkins   Sample Clearance
Teri Landi   Reissue Producer,Tape Research,Session Research
Jeep Holland   Arranger,Producer
Sal Trimachi   Composer,Producer
Freddie Gorman   Composer
Janessa Gursky   Assistant Art Director
Tommy Kaye   Arranger
Bud Breeze   Producer
Fred Downs   Engineer
Walter Masky   Producer
Joe Stamile   Producer
Johnny Stiles   Producer
Dennis Wholey   Producer
Stuart Wiener   Producer
Billy Jackson   Producer,Vocal Arrangements
Eddie Smith & the Hornets   Engineer
Tommy Baker   Arranger
Alisa Coleman   Art Direction
Ray DAgostino   Arranger
Frederick Edward Weatherly   Composer
Jody H. Klein   Reissue Producer

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